Basic Economics

A Citizen's Guide to the Economy: Revised and Expanded Edition
Narrated by: Brian Emerson
Length: 18 hrs and 32 mins
Categories: Money & Finance, Economics
5 out of 5 stars (23 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Thomas Sowell has a different idea about how economics should be taught. With this groundbreaking introduction to economics, Sowell has thrown out the graphs, statistics, and jargon. Learning economics, he believes, should be relaxing - and even enjoyable.

Sowell reveals the general principles behind any kind of economy - capitalist, socialist, feudal, and so on. In understandable language, he shows how to critique economic policies in terms of the incentives they create rather than the goals they proclaim. With clear explanations of the entire field, from rent control and the rise and fall of businesses to the international balance of payments, this is the first audiobook for anyone who wishes to understand how the economy functions.

In this edition, Basic Economics has been revised and expanded to address the new concerns of the 21st century. It's focus has become more international, including the range of economic problems faced by foreign countries around the world. Each chapter reflects the experiences of many different peoples and cultures. In his straightforward style, Sowell demonstrates that the basic principles of economics are not confined by national borders.

©2000 Thomas Sowell (P)2019 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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A mind opening consideration of Economics.

Fantastic book, one that gets one thinking in a different way about economics than is generally promoted by society today. Good narration, the only reason I held off on 5 stars is that on occasion, some very minor background noise could be heard, but wasn't overly distracting.

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Required reading

This book is a masterpice. Easy to understan and filled with facts and references, leaving emotional and moral grandstanding in the dirt. I have already told several friends and acquaintances about the book and I hope the authors other titles hold the same standard, I have already added many of the authors books to my wishlist. I cant think of anything substantial missing in the preformance, I would have liked a pdf though. But ”there is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it.” : )

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Tom Sowell should be required “reading”.

Basic Economics should be required reading for all citizens, especially those who vote. Tom offer a thoughtful and rational approach with solid examples of how economics “actually” works. He’s artfully able to set aside feelings and politics for logic.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-19-20

a dispassionate explanation of money of wealth

Thomas Sowell has a gift , he can communicate his field of expertise using factual examples without idealogy, this is a great book.

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  • Nick S
  • 02-15-20

A flawed tribute to free-market economics

Overall: interesting, a good introduction to old-style free-market thinking but biased and outdated.

This book provides a good overview of conventional thinking in economics - the benefits of the market, the function of prices, the problems with big government and so on. I didn't actually mind the narrator (though I do agree with other reviews that his intonation takes some getting used to) but I did find myself constantly questioning the actual content.

Firstly, it's very outdated as of 2020. From the obvious (this book was written before the stock market crash of 2007-2008) to the more subtle (the arguments about, e.g. German economic inefficency causing high unemployment are not applicable to 2020 given that unemployment is low there), the arguments in this book are not able to take account of recent events.

More troubling, however, is the ideological basis on which this book is founded. The whole premise can be summed up as: "the most desirable way for society to exist is for scarce resources to be allocated to their most efficient uses, as this is what increases quality of life and therefore happiness". Sounds like a decent premise, until you see that this is used to justify the continuation of poverty, rising inequality and as an argument against any government intervention. Moreover, the author continuously states that this is 'fact', not 'opinion', and states that it is not an ideological way of thinking. This is clearly wildly untrue - it may be considered 'fact' by right-wing Chicago school economists, but it seems more like ideology to the rest of us. It doesn't mean that it is wrong (I agree completely with many of the arguments against rent control, and price caps, and so on), it just creates a pervasive bias that becomes irritating after a while.

The examples used are often simplistic, though some of this would have been necessary due to the target audience. However, I disliked how often the argument was used that 'the Soviet Union did this, and look how they turned out, so we should do the opposite' as an argument for ANY form of taxation, trade restriction, poverty reduction scheme etc. This argument is used dozens and dozens of times through the book and although it is true on many occasions, it is often overly simplistic or just plain incorrect.

So I would only recommend this book as a historical insight into what they used to teach in Economics 101 at universities in the 1990s or early 2000s. Nowadays, with the advent of behavioural economics and the increasing recognition of the flaws of late 20th century free-market macroeconomics, this book seems very dated.

I still found it educational, however, and it manages to cover a broad base of economic theory in readily understandable language, which is an achievement in itself.

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